Scarlet's Irish Chain

Over Christmas my (then 4 year old) niece Scarlet informed me that she was moving out of her mom's bed and into her own.  So she needed a quilt.  We talked about what she had in mind and she told me she'd like it to be red, of course, and also purple and yellow.

One of my favorite things about my own kids is their intrepid ideas when it comes to color. Sometimes, they end of with a hot mess, and sometimes their color combinations are refreshing or exciting.  But I'm always inspired by the way they go after it and come up with something interesting.  Which is exactly what I loved about Scarlet's order.  

I liked the idea of an irish chain for this project because it can be chain pieced quickly and still look great, and I knew I could get all of her colors in without much trouble.  When I talked with my sister about the quilt, she told me the only way she could see me going wrong was for the quilt to be too tame.  Scarlet likes colors, and they need to be bright!

I wasn't happy with the beginning work on this project, which was the chained pieced portion, so I ultimately decided to go the long route and cut and place each individual piece.  Doing this allowed me to bring in more fabrics.  I had a bunch of different yellows, reds, purples and oranges in my stash, so I felt that this would be a great way to use some of these up without having to go buy a bunch more.  I also cut up and used some of my daughters' old Peek skirts that I was saving for special projects, which makes it a bit more special for me.  This solved the need to buy more fabric, but made the project considerably more time consuming.  

Before starting the project I had intended to machine quilt it.  I kept that plan right up to the moment when I needed to begin the quilting part and realized I didn't want to do that.  Instead, I opted for a variety of celtic designs on the larger blocks, taken from a book I bought about 25 years ago while visiting Ireland, and then to finish the chain blocks with the same little xs I have been using for my blue strings quilt.

Scarlet had a birthday in April and I wanted to get the project finished as my birthday gift to her, so it really started to take up most of my sewing time for a couple of months.  In the end, I finally finished it, a bit late, but in enough time for my mom to take to her when she went for the birth of Scarlet's baby sister in late May.  

This is not my favorite quilt, aesthetically speaking.  I do love the texture.  The little quilted xs make it extra soft.  And it is made with much love.  I backed it with a red flannel that I thought would be cozy for her in the Wisconsin winters.  But despite the quilt lacking appeal for me personally, she loves it.  It is apparently just what she had in mind.  I tried to send progress pictures to her along the way to get her opinions and make sure we were heading in the right direction.  I wish that I could have been there to give it to her personally, but I love that she loves it.  And I love that she knew to come right to me for this quilt.